Dan's Dugout: Trades Widen Gap Between Haves and Have-Nots • Latino Sports

Baseball

Dan’s Dugout: Trades Widen Gap Between Haves and Have-Nots

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COOPERSTOWN – In baseball, as in life, the rich always find ways to get richer.

As the dust cleared from the Monday trading deadline, the haves widened their advantage over the have-nots.

The big winners were the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, and Chicago Cubs, with the Washington Nationals also in contention.

Yu Darvish is a Dodger

Yu Darvish is a Dodger

The Dodgers pilfered Texas pitcher Yu Darvish, a righthanded starter spinning his wheels with the Texas Rangers, and a pair of lefthanded relievers, Tony Watson (Pirates) and Tony Cingrani (Reds).

The Yankees bolstered their rotation by adding Sonny Gray, most recently with Oakland, while the Nats turned to the Minnesota Twins for closer Brandon Kintzler.

At the same time, the World Champion Chicago Cubs captured catcher Alex Avila and lefthanded closer Justin Wilson from the aging and faltering Detroit Tigers, suddenly in full seller mode.

Nobody notable was sacrificed by any of the contenders, who kept their best prospects.

Although August waiver trades are permissible, they’re not always easy. That’s why lefthanded Baltimore closer Zach Britton, arguably the American League’s best pitcher last year, breathed a sigh of relief that he wasn’t moved despite raging rumors to the contrary.

The Orioles did add erstwhile Phillies ace Jeremy Hellickson is a head-scratcher of a trade, while Mets first baseman Lucas Duda crossed league lines in a deal that sent him to Tampa Bay.

Lucas Duda's lefthanded power is now helping Tampa Bay

Lucas Duda’s lefthanded power is now helping Tampa Bay

The Mets also revamped their relief corps, sending Addison Reed to Boston for three prospects while adding A.J. Ramos from the Miami Marlins for a pair. Again, the blue-chip prospects stayed put.

Even before the flurry of 11th-hour trades, new acquisitions were already paying dividends. J.D. Martinez, who went from Detroit to Arizona, was already producing plenty of punch for the D’backs as they rolled toward a spot in the wild-card game.

Earlier Monday, the five newest members of the Baseball Hall of Fame entertained hundreds of fans in a freewheeling roundtable discussion at Doubleday Field.

Speaking for the group, Jeff Bagwell said they knew each other only slightly before the weekend.

“I knew Bud Selig and John Schuerholz,” said Bagwell, who spent his entire career in Houston, “but didn’t know Tim Raines or Pudge Rodriguez that well. I found out this weekend what they are like as people and it gave me a whole new perspective. The five of us will be forever linked as the Class of 2017.”

Pudge Rodriguez (right) beams as Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson presents his plaque Credit: George Napolitano/Latino Sports

Pudge Rodriguez (right) beams as Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson presents his plaque
Credit: George Napolitano/Latino Sports

Rodriguez, the youngest member of the Hall of Fame, was the first Puerto Rican and second catcher (after Johnny Bench) elected on the first ballot. “I went to dinner here, sat next to Jeff, and said, ‘What a room we’re in!’”

Raines had been there before, to witness the inductions of former Expos teammates Gary Carter and Andre Dawson. “Just being up there with Andre was special,” said Raines, who named one of his sons after the one-time slugger. The diminutive speed merchant also insisted baseball could thrive in Montreal again. “We averaged 30 to 40,000 a night after I got there,” recalled Raines, who reached the majors in 1979.

Schuerholz, 76, and Selig, 83, were elected by the Veterans Committee last December, a month before the Baseball Writers Association of America announced their electees.

Leading candidates for next year’s election are Chipper Jones and Jim Thome, both expected to enter on their first try, and holdovers Vladimir Guerrero and Trevor Hoffman, who both missed the required 75 per cent of the vote by an eyelash. Andruw Jones is also a possibility.

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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